The Reds gave coach Jeff Miller a winning send-off with victory over the Highlanders in the Vodacom Super 14 on Friday.
The Reds triumphed 22-16 in a hard-fought encounter played in Townsville, after leading 19-9 at the break, but the match was hardly inspiring as both teams showed it had been a long, hard season.
It was a largely dull encounter, with the key moment coming in the 24th minute when Highlanders flank Hoani MacDonald was sin-binned for a deliberate infringement. At the time his team trailed 7-6 and by the time he returned they had conceded 12 points in ten minutes.
Tries by David Croft and Ben Tune punished the 14-man Highlanders as the home team went out to a 19-6 lead and looked like they were in the mood to have some fun.
The Reds had taken the lead in the 3rd minute when a pin-point Berrick Barnes cross-kick found an unmarked Mitchell Chapman who simply had to fall over the line.
Highlanders fullback Ben Blair kicked two penalties to draw his team to within a point, but then MacDonald produced his professional foul in the 22 that ultimately cost his team dearly.
The Reds scored a pushover by Croft immediately, and Tune swept in four minutes later. Blair though kicked a 38th minute penalty to reduce the deficit at halftime.
The second stanza went pointless until the 65th minute when Highlanders wing Ben Smith rounded off a move that made the score 19-16. Barnes though kicked a 77th minute penalty to make the task more difficult for the visitors and eventually it proved too much for them.
Tries: Mitchell Chapman (3rd min), David Croft (25th min), Ben Tune (29th min)
Cons: Julian Huxley 2 (3rd min, 25th min)
Pens: Berrick Barnes (77th min)
Tries: Ben Smith (64th min)
Cons: Ben Blair (64th min)
Pens: Blair 3 (10th min, 21st min, 38th min)
By Andrew Hollely